Reflections, January 2012:
Rummaging through a cupboard of vases in search of clear containers for an event, a bright red crackled glass vase popped into view. “Perfect”, I thought, “for those greens I have yet to arrange”. I needed something that would conceal the ends – ugly, thick, and bare. I chuckled; for while casting about for one thing I simultaneously happened upon something else soon to be needed. Funny how the need had already been met before I’d even sought it. It was almost like a “buy one get one free” sale.
Still chuckling, I sensed the Lord speaking to me about hiddenness. No, He wasn’t inviting me to a game of hide and seek. He always knows just where I am and what I’m up to. But he did seem to be reminding me that there are seasons of openness and seasons of remaining hidden. When God begins to open doors of opportunity, and favor fairly cascades out, our emotions soar in expectation and excitement. But when immobility and silence last “too long”, in our impatience and frustration we cry out, “Well, where are You? What are You doing? Have You forgotten about us?” Oh, He is right there! Busy but hidden from our view. Like a set being rearranged between scenes, God’s activity frequently is not ready for complete exposure. The curtain is closed for a season. Concealment has its purpose. Constraint during a time of preparation is often the wisdom we are called to exercise.
When the curtain goes up, hopefully it reveals a people who have been diligently preparing themselves to step into the next scene. Our preparation may come through Bible study, or an extended season of prayer, times of wonder-filled worship, sitting
silently before the Lord of all, or our and about lending a helping hand. Whatever your circumstances, stay engaged. Savor the tidbits as they come. Cherish them; for they will become important in the days ahead. Tuck His word away in your heart for a time when you may need to live from that Truth.
This is a New Year we have just entered. As always it is filled with hopes, dreams, and uncertainties. Yet we are a called out people, called to impact our world in great and small ways but never to cower in the shadows of hiddenness in fear. We cannot retreat to the old, it’s gone; we cannot remain immobile in the present, even it is in motion; we can only move forward into the future with the confidence that whatever He calls us to be engaged in, He is totally sufficient. He is our wisdom, our strength, our power, our compassion, our gentleness, our mercy, and our love.
As fishers of men, whether we are warmly received or roundly criticized, we can be confident that our lives, which are hidden in Christ, are fulfilling kingdom purposes. God promises, “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden wealth of secret places in order that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel who calls you by your name.” (Isa. 45: 2,3) Keep your spiritual ears open; He has an assignment for you! Rejoice and be glad!
Blessings and Shalom,